Tuesday, August 11, 2020

China tapped for more masks to protect medics 

Apr 01. 2020
Sophon Mekthon, GPO chairman
Sophon Mekthon, GPO chairman
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By The Nation

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) has approved a budget of 660 million baht for urgent procurement of an extra 400,000 sets of N95 face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) from China.

GPO chairman Sophon Mekthon said medical equipment and supplies had to be imported from overseas because production in Thailand cannot meet demand.

“China has a large source of supplies so we can procure as much as we need,” he said on Tuesday (March 31). “Deliveries of 150,000 sets of medical equipment will arrive by air this week, while shipments of 250,000 sets will be transported by sea in the next two or three weeks.”

He explained that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had earlier chaired a meeting of the Covid-19 situation management centre, which directed the the Ministry of Public Health to procure protective equipment for medical personnel treating Covid-19 patients.

“Initially, the Covid-19 situation management centre aimed to procure 2 million N95 masks and the same number of PPE sets.”

The government had already allocated Bt1.5 billion to procure 264,000 N95 masks and 350,000 PPE sets, which the GPO had distributed to hospitals, he said.

“Our working group on logistics and stockpiling, chaired by Food and Drug Administration Secretary-General Dr Paisarn Dunkum, has been tasked with procuring and distributing medical equipment and supplies to ensure that deliveries are sufficient,” he added.

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